#sourbeer – PorchDrinking.com
I’m not sure about everybody else, but this summer seems to be going by way too quick. Sometimes, however, certain things come up that remind you of school in all the best ways. Drekker Brewing, out of Fargo, North Dakota (yes, that’s a real place) has given me a true sense of nostalgia with this fruited sour ale that I recently tried.
Emilia-Romagna, Italy, named by Lonely Planet in 2018 as the best place to visit in Europe, is known for many of the finer things in life. The birthplace and home of Ferrari and Lamborghini, a foodie paradise with city names you will recognize from your favorite cheeses and cured meats, and home of the world’s oldest university, there are a lot of reasons to book a holiday here. But there is a specific reason you may want to earmark the first weekend of June as your time to visit, and this is because of the fantastic Arrogant Sour Festival held in Reggio Emilia each year.
In today’s U.S. craft beer market, tenure is a very relative term. So, when something has been around for 20 years, you take notice. That is the case with New Belgium Brewing’s wood-aged sour program, which is the oldest in the United States. The program has created sour trendsetters like La Folie; all the while continuing to set the mark for what consumers should look for in a good wood-aged sour.
With spring fast approaching I find myself looking for stone fruit, both the actual fruit and in beer! The Rare Barrel collaborated with Side Project Brewing to bring about a beacon that spring is finally here. I was able to speak with Alex Wallash, founder of The Rare Barrel, about this collaboration brew and he provided some insight to the making of Avec des Amis.
Would you be willing to fall in love with a new beer? Maybe even reconnect with a beer you already tasted before? February is a short month, but enough time to show our craft beer community some love. This week was interesting since I tried new beers as well as a beer spa experience. I wanted to celebrate a birthday in a different way, and I definitely accomplished that. Cheers to trying new beer experiences, even if it means submerging yourself in a hot tub full of beer ingredients! PorchDrinkers have a cool lineup of diverse beers and we are all over the country sharing this week’s What We’re Drinking.
Brewers collaborate with each other all the time. The results are usually pretty good and often buzzworthy. Then, there are those collaborations that make your eyes light up and your tastebuds salivate at the thought of two sour beer-brewing masterminds coming together to create something truly special that is primed to set the market ablaze – if executed properly. The new international collaboration between Delaware-based Dogfish Head and Belgium sour stalwart Brouwerij Rodenbach has the potential to do just that.
It’s the dead of winter and I’m not drinking a burly, barrel-aged stout – or even an IPA. Instead, I’ve cracked open a can of Creature Comforts’ Tritonia Gose. Was I envisioning a beach on some far off island? Or a sweltering summer sun? Nope, I just wanted something light and flavorful that wasn’t a lager and wouldn’t weigh me down like some of the heavier stouts and barleywines I’ve had on winter night’s past; and I’m not alone in this sentiment.
Much like the rise of spiked seltzer, the lighter styles of beer, namely session sours such as gose ale, are experiencing a bit of a renaissance this days as folks are beginning to choose tart and tangy beers for their ability to bridge the gap between calorie-conscious and flavor-packed. IPAs aren’t going away – to the contrary even. However, many breweries have begun to appreciate the gose’s spot in giving their beer lineup a bit of balance along with a burst of new flavors. For more insight into the growing popularity of the style over the past few years, I asked several breweries making some of the best gose-style ales in the nation to get their thoughts.
Oak and Orchard Sour Ale with Blackberry, Black Currant & Cherry
Epic Brewing Co. has done it again! Their Oak and Orchard lineup now includes another excellent seasonal beer incorporating high-quality ingredients. With this Cabernet Sauvignon inspired introduction, Epic pulls out all of the stops. They’ve added blackberry, black currant and one of our favorite sour complements, the all mighty cherry. Coming on the heels of the popular Strawberry Rhubarb in the same series, every subsequent modification proves Epic is catering to eager taste buds of sour beer lovers.
Summer is in full swing and the PorchDrinking staff is soaking up those late evening rays of sunshine with, you guessed it, some awesome beers in hand. From beach hangs to visiting breweries, our staff is making the most of their summer time so far. Here is What We’re Drinking.
Somehow, suburban Chicago’s Scorched Earth Brewing barreling program remains off the radar for most beer drinkers, which leaves this writer befuddled. Certainly those in the Chicago region with a nose for barrel-aged beers should make it a high priority to seek all forms of Scorched Earth brewing alchemy. One of the brewery’s latest releases, Barrel 76, is a Flanders red ale aged in French oak wine barrels with Montmorency cherries and Madagascar vanilla beans. Traditional, yet innovative. Sophisticated, yet rustic. Tart, yet a bit sweet. The beer serves as an example for what craft brewing is all about.
It was the best of sours, it was the best of sours. My apologies to Mr. Dickens, but the tale of these two sours from two different breweries located in two different regions, and enjoying two different histories, is a joyful one. So, do you prefer California or Colorado? Kettle or Barrel? Belgium or Germany? It doesn’t matter. You can have whatever you want because beers like these exemplify how we as craft beer fans are indeed living in the best of times.
San Francisco Beer Week kicks off its 10th Anniversary on February 9, 2018. Like last year, this beer week runs a full 10 days, packed with events all across the Bay Area, ending on February 18, 2018. Get your livers and drinking boots ready. Make sure to check back for the PorchDrinking list of Can’t Miss Events for each day! Below you will find the 10 beers we’re most excited for, along with the full pour list (subject to change).
For many in Colorado, the arrival of February signals the official start of Stout Month, a cult following tradition that extends to all Mountain Sun Brewery and Pub locations. However, our friends at First Draft Taproom & Kitchen have begun a February tradition of their own, by celebrating the tart and acidic side of beer with a Sour Month celebration.
First Draft Taproom & Kitchen team has been saving up a multitude of draft and bottle sour gems and we’ve got the info on what sour beers to expect this February. Drop into First Draft Taproom and Kitchen in Denver’s River North Art District located at 1309 26th St., Denver, CO this month to enjoy some of this special sours!
From unicorn tears to blue cheese sours, the 2017 What the Funk!? Invitational brought another year of sensationally wild and funk barrel-aged beers–this year at the gorgeous Studios at Overland Crossing in Denver.
A little over a month ago, we reported on New Belgium’s decision to reimagine their specialty brands with the suspension of their popular Lips of Faith series and the implementation of their Wood Cellar Reserve series. Two weeks ago while attending the debut of Le Kriek Noir, the first entry in their new cork & cage Wood Cellar Reserve line, we were also treated to a sneak preview of what’s coming down the pipeline as well as a familiar brand that will also receive some fresh new packaging.
On Tuesday New Belgium Brewing Company announced that the second beer from its highly anticipated Wood Cellar Reserve series will be released this upcoming Saturday. At 8.5% ABV, single Foeder Oscar No. 65 is an unblended dark sour that has been maturing for 12 months in a 100 percent Missouri white oak foeder. According to the brewery, the beer pours dark walnut red with subtle notes of vanilla and coconut. These notes play beautifully with notes of plum skin and cherry Coca-Cola. This is a first run through using this foeder and only fresh beer will touch the American oak for the first time, thus the flavors for this release cannot be replicated—making this release truly special.
Drake’s Brewing Co has been releasing a steady stream of 500ml bottles of specialty brews this year and their newest, Tart Breaker, is out to steal your heart. Members of Drake’s ’89 Club, named after the year they were founded, are able to snap up bottles a week before the public.
When Epic Brewing first released its Sour Brainless on Peaches in late June 2015, the brewery’s sour program was officially launched. I remember going to the first release at the Denver taproom, where I was able to hand-dip the wax on my bottles, enjoy free peach ice cream from Little Man with flame roasted peaches, and also get my first taste of Epic’s sour peach. In the two years since the initial release, Epic’s sour initiative has quickly matured into an innovative and well-respected program.
“I was his light in the darkness.”
Frezi Bouckaert smiled slyly as she made the comment. Frezi further noted, “It was dark and I was his shining light.” As Frezi started explaining this rather somber statement, I realized she was speaking both literally and figuratively. Let me give you a little bit of context. Frezi met her husband Peter Bouckaert (yes, that Peter) spelunking in Belgium. When dating, some folks like to go to the movies, see live music or wine and dine; Frezi and Peter would go caving. A lot.
SweetWater Brewing Company has always pushed an image of nonconformity. Its latest venture, The Woodlands, is no different. Over the last 20 years, SweetWater has focused on growing its brand, and as founder Freddy Bensch explains “We have capacity under control, and can give more time to projects we’ve always aspired to do.” Bensch continued, pointing out, “We’re always challenging ourselves to evolve and master our craft.” The Woodlands is the physical manifestation of the brewery’s vision to push its practice and, as Bensch finished, “…make some really phenomenal beers.” So it was in this spirit of innovation and mastery that the Woodlands was born.
Stillwater Artisanal is going on tour! Gose Gone Wild World Tour Phuket is the first stop on their journey featuring mango, lemongrass, Thai chilies and sea salt all accentuating a sour wheat ale. Where are my sunglasses?